CSEA, allies rally to support education equality

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The Rev. William Barber II, center, urges for education equality in New York state at a state Capitol rally.

CSEA activists and education, labor, faith and community allies joined in a spirited rally at the state Capitol in January to support education equality. The event was highlighted by an inspiring address by The Rev. William Barber II, founder of the Moral Mondays movement and president of the North Carolina NAACP.

Bowl-a-thon for Special Olympics gets great turnout!

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Polar Plunge Team Captain Meghan Santucci, second from left, welcomes bowlers. With her is Region 3 Secretary Sue Nakutavicius, our Polar Plunge mascot, and Region 3 President Billy Riccaldo.

We had a fantastic turnout on Sunday, Jan. 11 for our annual Beat the Bear Bowl-a-Thon, raising funds for Special Olympics New York. Our Region 3 Polar Plunge team will participate again this year in the Special Olympics Polar Plunge, set this year for Feb. 21 in Fishkill.

Our hardworking team members planned a fantastic afternoon of bowling, games and a delicious dinner at Mardi-Bob Lanes in Poughkeepsie. The event raised almost $2,000 for Special Olympics. Thanks to all of our team members for their dedication and hard work!

CSEA is a longtime supporter of Special Olympics. Many of our members work in jobs that allow them to care for or interact with individuals with developmental disabilities. Others have personal connections to Special Olympics, having volunteered previously for the organization or having family members taking part in their athletic events.

View more photos from the Bowl-a-Thon on our Facebook album. If you are unable to attend the Feb. 21 Polar Plunge, please consider making a tax-deductible donation online via our team page.

Federal Issues Report

AFSCME Legislative Weekly Report
Week ending January 9, 2015

Headlines include:

  • New 114th Congress Convenes
  • House Passes Rules Package Which Threatens Social Security Disability Insurance and Distorts Harmful Impact of Tax Cuts
  • House of Representatives Starts the New Year with Vote to Weaken Affordable Care Act (ACA)
  • President Obama Unveils Plan to Make Community College Free and to Expand Technical Training Programs
  • Municipal Bankruptcy Reform Bill Introduced
  • Job Growth Strong in 2014

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This Week in Albany

Week ending January 9, 2015

Headlines include:

  • 2015 Legislative Session Begins
  • Child Protective Services Case Data Legislation Vetoed
  • New Congress Takes Office
  • At a Glance

Continue reading…


This Week in Albany

Week ending January 9, 2015

2015 Legislative Session Begins

The 2015 state legislative session began this week when lawmakers met on Wednesday to officially elect their leaders and to install the rules for each chamber.

The only significant changes took place in the Senate, where Republicans have an outright majority for the first time since 2012. For the past two years, Republicans shared control of the chamber with the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a group of Democratic senators who broke away from the main conference.

Republican Senator Dean Skelos will serve as the sole Temporary President and Majority Leader for the next two years. During the last session, the Temporary President alternated between Senator Skelos and Co-Majority Leader Jeffrey Klein of the IDC.

Sheldon Silver was re-elected as Assembly Speaker. If the Manhattan Democrat serves his entire two-year term, he will surpass Oswald Heck as the longest serving Speaker in state history.

Child Protective Services Case Data Legislation Vetoed

Governor Cuomo vetoed a bill (A.9873 Lupardo / S.7524 Golden) that would have required local social service districts to report annually on the number of active cases child protective services (CPS) workers have each month. This legislation was introduced at the request of CSEA in order to shed light on the dangerously high number of cases that many CPS workers have. Currently, there is no publicly available data for this.

Guidelines from OCFS recommend that a CPS worker have between 12-15 cases per month. However a survey of CSEA members in CPS titles has shown that some have as many as 60-70 active cases in a given month.

The Governor stated in his veto message that this proposal is an unfunded mandate on counties. However, the Governor stated that he will direct OCFS to make public any existing data that it has regarding CPS caseloads. CSEA will monitor to ensure that OCFS makes this data available.

New Congress Takes Office

Republicans took full control of Congress for the first time in eight years this week. The 114th Congress has 74 new members, including four from New York.

At a Glance

The Governor’s “State of the State” address was initially scheduled for January 7, but the speech has been pushed back to January 21 because of the passing of Governor Cuomo’s father. Former Governor Mario Cuomo passed away on January 1.

The Governor’s budget is scheduled to be released on January 27.

Empire Plan Summary of Benefits Available Online

The Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires all insurance plans to make available a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) for employees eligible for benefits and potential enrollees. The New York State Department of Civil Service’s Employee Benefits Division notified current enrollees of the availability of the Summary of Benefits and Coverage and Uniform Glossary for The Empire Plan online at https://www.cs.ny.gov/sbc/index.cfm and via the annual mailings, including the 2015 rate notification. Employees who do not have internet access may call 1-877-7-NYSHIP (1-877-769-7447) and select the Medical Program to request a copy of the SBC for The Empire Plan. Employees who need a copy for a NYSHIP HMO should contact the HMO. Empire Plan enrollees will receive the 2015 At A Glance publication, which provides a comprehensive summary of benefits for the year.

The Summary of Benefits and Coverage is a simple and standardized multi-page comparison tool that is intended to help consumers better understand and compare available health insurance options.

While this information may be helpful, employees should refer to other plan material, such as the Choices booklet for more comprehensive coverage and benefit information, prior to making a decision regarding choosing a health plan.

Statement of CSEA President Danny Donohue on the passing of former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo

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Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1982.

“Mario Cuomo was a man of unquestioned commitment to effective and accountable government. His intellect and work ethic were second to none. His leadership challenged all to work harder for a better New York.

CSEA members offer our prayers and best wishes to Matilda, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the entire Cuomo family.”

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